Monday, June 21, 2010

22nd June Jan Mark (1943 - 2006)

Jan Mark was a British secondary school teacher who gave up teaching in order to write full-time and she has written a large number of wonderful books. As well as novels for older children for which she won many awards, Jan wrote books for children who were newly independent fluent readers. In my library there is Snow Maze; The Dead Letter Box; The Cat's Way Home and The Twig Thing, all of which are now looking well-read and somewhat shabby, but are nevertheless good reads. Hopefully like many other short novels they will be reimaged and published again.

We also have some memorable picture books. Among them Fur a lovely cat story that is illustrated by Charlotte Voake, Strat and Chatto another cat story, but including a rat as well this time and with quirky illustrations by David Hughes, and The Museum Book which looks at the concept of a museum and collections with illustrations by Richard Holland.

Now for a third picture book on the refugee theme. Four Feet, Two Sandals (Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed and Doug Chayka) is the moving story of Lina and Feroza, two young girls who are living in a refugee camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border waiting to hear when they will be resettled. The girls become friends because they each find one sandal from a matching pair, and rather than fight over who should have both they share them, taking turns to wear the pair. Khadra Mohammed is one of the authors of this story and it is based on her experiences in Peshawar. There is a short authors' note at the back of the book which explains in simple language about how the people in Afghanistan became refugees and are resettled in places such as America. There are teaching notes for this book at
Karen Lynn Williams website. If you do not have access to this book there is a visual analysis of the book on YouTube.

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